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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Ant and The GrassHopper !!!

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

*Indian Version:**

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhat Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Mayawati states this as `injustice' done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for promptsupport as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ' Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act' [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh makes 'Special Reservation ' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it's home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it ' A Triumph of Justice'. Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'.
CPM calls it the ' Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden '
Banki moon (UN  Seceratory general) invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later....**

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley, 100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India,


As a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshoppers, India is still a developing country.....

Source : Rediff Forum / A User ID “ Alant “

Interesting I hope ;))

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Letter to the School Principal :On teachers day !

Dear Ma'am,

Not many days have passed since I have been a teacher. It has been an incredibly complex, yet a Nobel experience to be one. In this Small, yet most transitional Journey so far. Your Presence has Our Head teacher has been greatly inspirational, truly guiding and most reassuring.

I have seen the most interesting and extensive school assembly ,with Plenty of songs ,exercises and excited kids bubbling with joy, learning notwithstanding.

The involvement and enthusiasm shown by you during the school functions is worth emulating. Your rapport with the teachers and parents has been truly comforting. The clear and crisp, instructions at the staff meetings have been to the point.

The Independence – to teach in the best possible way in the respective classes, is one which makes the school environment quiet amicable.

It has been a real pleasure working under your able guidance. Be it permitting a special class and taking lessons under the tree in the playground, or having a flexible class periods – as per lesson needs , you have been at your cooperative best . Allowing for free interaction with co –teachers and parents, and appreciating involvement in kid’s communities reflects our shared vision for the kids.

As a token of gratitude, I wish to share an inspiring letter written by Abraham Lincoln which was sent to the headmaster of a school where his son was attending.

In the school ,
Teach him,it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat.

Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong.

Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon.

Teach him to listen to all men but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him if you can , how to laugh when he is sad.

Teach him there is no shame in tears.

Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he's right.

Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage to be impatient.

Let him have the patience to be brave.

Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.

I take this opportunity to thank you once again we wish we continue to have your guidance and support our vision of

Providing quality education to all children“

Thanks and regards,

Ritesh Mishra

Grade 3, Ahilya Devi Holkar English Medium School, Aundh,Pune

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ahmedabad Retreat - Pre Retreat Reflections

 We at Teach for India  are going for a retreat at Ahmedabad  -  Gandhi's Ashram  to reconnect and reaffirm our  commitment to Teach For India’s mission and core values.

Dear Readers , this blog contains  personal   Reflections   before the Ahmdebad Retreat .

Into 4 parts : Hope you have a good  insight and a joyous reading !!
Part 1: Reflecting on our first term as teachers

We will be starting the retreat with small group discussions where we will share our experiences about the last 5 months. Few  reflection questions and their answers !

·       What are some of your biggest learning over the last few months, both in terms of personal growth and about the students we teach?

    Students :

·       It is an immense pool of talent
·       We sincerely need a mechanism to ensure best of  support for these talents in terms of finance and emotional backup
·       There is  huge gap with in a class in terms of  Acquired Knowledge , Learning capability and willing to learn .
Personal :

·       Patience is the key
·       Positive approach, words of kindness and appreciation works wonders.
·       One  should always Plan  , execute , reflect ,  replan to re-implment !
·       We have  lots to achieve in so little time  .Hence we to show urgency all the time

·       What are some of the biggest challenges we faced in our personal transformation and in our classroom?

 Well  , Class room  Challenges have been   mostly in terms of

      §  Class room Infrastructure 
      §  Apathy  Co teachers from   PMC board  
      §  Lack of desired understanding from parents,  and
      §  Of course indifference of Parents.

On a personal front  :

 *Well  , firstly  few things in the organizational level has not been to my liking 
(but then I very well understand and appreciate  that whatever  TFI  does  must be well thought  plan   ).    Though it sometimes is unconvincing! ;)

*  Secondly  My  Parents have not been on board yet  with my decision to do this  . .. Lets stop at that . ;)

Part 2: The Gandhian philosophy

On the first day of the retreat, we will be visiting the Gandhi ashram, meeting with leaders who are incorporating aspects of Gandhiji’s philosophy into their work. TFI would like us  to think about what, if anything, we can draw from Gandhiji’s experience. Some additional reflection questions:

·       How do Gandhi and his experiences relate to our work?
 Gandhi talked about education as a means of “self reliance “  .We believe that it is a means of “eliminating the inequity “  . Both in effect boils down to a   happy society
  Secondly  Working  Relentlessly   is one value we find quiet similar to Gandhian Values .

 It is never  a crime to do a mistake .It is always a best practise to understand the shortcomings and mistakes.  To admit our mistakes and redo . Even Gandhi g believde in   Lot of reflections - amply  seconded by " My Experiments with Truth"

  Gandhi led by example . He left his personal   Comfort .He Practised what he preached .  A  Dhoti - A clock - A stick -A pair of specs - Washing clothes - Weaving clothes -Cleaning his own clothes -- This are simple examples of  Personal Integrity of the man . We as TFI fellows , too have to show exemplary behaviour  in terms of setting right examples and inculcating best of values in  our Kids .

Gandhi never gave up .He was focused and determined in what he was doing .He always knew the Big goal of Independence .Nothing would deter him from that , be it immense Political pressure from the  various ideologies , sustained attack form the British intellectuals or personal life .

·       What is the value of simple living?

Someone said” sada jeevan uchh vichar “ or “ simple living nobel thoughts “ .Some may agree others may disagree .

What is  important to realize that  one of the most obvious benefits of simple living is that “ it liberates you from the fear of the unknown “ –questions like what will happen if .. What will I do when  … Will I get …..They   have the answers –… what do   I need after all ,…. So u get more confidence to work on your principles   and   you feel more convinced and determined about what you are doing .

·       How do we move out of our comfort zone?

 It is easy .You see the end result .If you realize the  after effects of your achievements , it  is very easy to come out of comfort zone .

·       What do WE understand by “Be the change”?

In simple terms it would be   “ self transformation “  .
   I   always had a feeling we complain a lot and do nothing about complains we have .  However the change begins with self .If we want the change to happen we need to change ourselves .Our  effort  and  actions need to be aligned to the desired change .

Part 3: Working with communities

TFI would like us to reflect on our kids and their families, your school environment, successes and challenges. We are going to be spending a day doing hands-on community projects in Ahmedabad and debriefing our experiences in small groups.

·       What are your fears when working with communities?

   One fear is that would it be long term.  Would the communities be able to sustain the changes once we move out !

 Are we deviating from our model of “change in education inequity “ – to “ eradicating inequity “

Because When we talk of inequity it becomes a soci-economic and also cultural platform . In that case education may take a back seat . (just a thought )

I understamd that education cannot be viewed in isolation because “its much beyond the hours spent at school “ . It needs all round efforts from all stake holders !

However in what ever we do , Education should be the forefront of all the inititatives .

·       What are the challenges you have faced when trying to connect with people in the community?

     People start expecting too much .They sometimes refuse to understand that we are mere individuals who are trying to make a change .But it is We (they and us ) who have to do it together not only us !

·       What has been easy about being in the community and working there?

           Best things is People value You .They understand that what ever  little or more we are trying is for them .

 It may be because of the little changes they see in their kids , it may be out of the hope of the good , it may be because our approach is refreshingly different and without any motive (votes or money or something in return)


Hope you enjoyed reading .till Next .....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Only Pics No Comments! ..Please put some ;)

Some Snap shots from the class!

Location: Ahilya Devi Holkar English Medium School
I. Concentration Supreme

These two might not be the toppers,but their Concentration and involvement in the TEST is so Exemplary, Mind you "Bhaiya is actually in the class and they are doing it outside!

Shivani Kharde :: Achievements: Not afraid, Listens, Talks Softly,

Shreyas Warangakar ::Achievments: Best Handwrit,Most Hardworking ,Good attendance

II. Defying the Odds

Someone said "You have got a difficult class - Kids FIGHT they Do not learn, they r not smart."I don't want to reply back,I just want them to see these Pictures!;)

Arbaaz: Taking the Lead to Explain the SSC text to Swati,Vedant and Khritk(in order)

Komolika in charge to churn in concepts in science discussion class! To Naynsee, Chaitrali and Mansi.

Concentrating and discussing on the Contents on the Green Board ;-) Rahul, Sandeep, Ravi, Aman

Oh,Just Love it! Everyone diving into the books for the Big Goal ;-> On group 4,Nupur ,Sunny, Hrisikesh !!

Hope You Enjoyed the Snapshots.

Its Diwali break for us,Kids need to study for their first term!

Bye till Next,Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 9, 2009

TFI Fellowship : As a teacher : Month 4

September  2009. Memoirs  from the Manual Diary!

Oh the month had an emotional beginning! Too touching too  overwhelming …
I was bit late  to come back (mere two days maaaaan ! )

Resulting in  Senti  Stories

Hrisikesh :  Cried at home for two days –thinking Bhaiya would not come back (I was late 2 days )

Chaitrali: Sobbed and did not eat properly .Her Parents called me up to enquire, if I was ok , more than that please talk to their daughter …..
Aman  and Sandeep : Did not want to come to school ,Bhaiya  has not come ,what’s the use anyways … ( Though they got REDS for thinking so )

Rahul : His Mummy Says “ He loves you more than his papa (which I think is bit overboard )  He prayed everyday , wishing me a speedy recovery from SWINE FLUE !!!!!!!!

Nupur   : Was worried about THE  BIG GOAL .How without him ?


Thank Goodness Bhaiya was allowed to come   the SWINE FLUE City by his Parents  !!!

September 5 : The Teachers Day

14 Red Roses  , 13 Pens  , 3 Greeting Cards ….And above all , Numerous Hugs and  buckets of Love

Kids were showing the change !!!   ;)))It was really Moving and so so touching !

This was Unconditional Love … CHARAG and I were under an emotional attack for the first time in Our Lives I guess .Personally , this was the first time I realized , how important teacher really are for the kids.  They are just so important and Valuable ….  


Well let me tell you   about the most important things happening in the class …


1.   English : Reading Skills :   

  We (Kids and Me) decided that we would  Start Learning English now , ENOUGH IS ENOUGH… So first thing would be Phonics –the Science of SOUNDS .. 
-         Short vowel
-         Long vowel (Magic e)
-         Consonant Sound
-         CVC words
-         Blends
-         Digraphs
-         Consonant Digraph Blends
-         Special Case –‘Y’ as vowel , Double Vowel , Silent Consonants  etc

God , I had to do some real research and Slog my brain hard ..Had never done English this way !

Often Wondered why to do this way ? .. but then these kids were some Good 3 grades behind and accelerated learning could be achieved only through this Route  ….

Next Step was to apply the Knowledge of Phonics into reading ….

Well Kids who were ZERO on reading …… To read   "Chunky chops are Crispy " , " To cough is a tough act " ," "Scrib and Swap the Crap article " ;) , using Phonic sounds , just thrills them .

The class is at war against the Sounds and it seems 17/25 is just winning them .Sunny  and Chaitrali   reads Words like Evaluation at ease ........

They are demanding more and more  Reading sessions …….

2. Maths : Fractions :

Hey ,have you ever learnt the decimals and their practical implications in Grade 3 . "


Prathmesh " says if we want 1000 pieces of " an apple ", It would become a " CHurmure type powder thing " - so it would mean a decimal number is something like that .


My o My   in Engineering  My  " Mechanical operations "  Mam , while teaching attrition - where partical size reduces to a 1000th or more ;)) said the same thing !



3. Statistics


Reading a Given text , Finding Data , Documenting it in different froms and then finding out required information… They are doing Classical Statistics ..and their avg age is 8 !!! ;-->


Dwelling more on classical statistics : Sunny says if we have to find number of dolls wearing Red frocks ,instead of using a "Table Document " we may instead make a "Picture " -it is easy to locate and understand .... Sunny ,I don know , but i am sure ..We need Something beyond BLOOMS for u ;)..he needs pie charts and bar graphs now ... kids and statistics :)




How can they have so much fun at a silly things like " Single Clicking" :"Double Clicking " " Dragging an icon " " Putting  Moise Pointer anywhere on the screen " ----> I was perspiring to teach them computers and they were having fun at my cost ;)))))))))) Teaching is sooooooooo rewarding !!


5. Science


Ok . we grow . Plants grow . but most important is mud (Soil ). Without Mud - even if you put water , give the leaves sunlight -no food be cooked .... so ........... Aniket is - Thinking Star of the Day !!!



More Reflections


 Yes the experience continues to challenge and enthrall my emotional quotient !

A Little struggle in terms of H1N1 fear, however kids have been showing exemplary resilience in not turning away from class rooms .

Kids are now impressed by “7 –blind men and the elephant “ story – Team spirit is the key .The know it .They have now agreed that it is important to plan , discuss , organize,  it together !!!-

We plan to implement our new found knowledge in ‘Design for giving Week’ –starting this Saturday .They have decide that they should “Give something back “ to the school in exchange of happiness and knowledge received from the school in general and “Bhaiya “ in particular . We plan to have our own flower garden and a beautiful play ground in the school . We have a little Garden in the school

Sandeep  : Why do u think we should we work hard and get smart ;) Sandeep : Bhaiya apart from achieving the big goal , and becoming great man , we can also help people who do not have anything !! ......I am spell bound , emotional and too Happy ...Boy way to go !!;-)


Charag  Comments

“ He's already designing for giving, without even being guided in that direction! “





The new mania in the class is   “ Up the blooms “   . 

Blooms taxonomy:
Knowledge –Comprehension-Application-Analysis –Synthesis-Evaluation .

Kids are sad that they Were just on knowledge level ;-) .
They occasionally go to Application and Analysis . 

Almost 5 of them sometimes reach “ Evaluation” –the highest  level of learning.  We are just so eager to achieve more and more .

Topic of the Class debate :Should we beat kids in schools ! Sandeep (my grade 3 ): No , 1. We are living things , we may get hurt ,hence sud not be bitten 2. We also express our feelings , if someone bits , we get angry and are not able to do so ..... where is Sandeep on Taxonomy ? ;-->

We are also doing Classical Statistics (yes you read it right ;-> ) ,Reading comprehension , Critical thinking ,Mental math  and Phonics at a greater intensity and vigour.


The Highs and The Lows


Ritesh Mishra 

What makes u sad , at the end of an Excelllent day of teaching is .. the apathy of the parents towards "Potential of their kids "...How can they let the kids carry the independent sheets, to the tution teacher . !! and they phone saying - as Aditya padhai ker reha hain na.??... ridiculous .. i am miffed and gone red with raze ... ;(

September 24 at 10:37pm ·   · Like
Sreedhar Subramanian
dont u realise tat kids r forced 2 make their parents dreamz come true n not their own ... tats the world today ....
September 24 at 10:54pm · Delete
Ritesh Mishra
mate , we r not talking about kids like we were....these kids have to have an accelerated learning .because they have so many soci-economic challenges .. they r not the mainstream ..they have to be specially inclined and parental behaviour has to be exemplary for "THE CHANGE " to is not done !! ;-(
September 24 at 11:06pm · Delete
Sreedhar Subramanian
hmmm ... i forgot tat ... i guess u must educate their parents also not 2 put 2 much pressure on the kids ...
September 24 at 11:09pm · Delete

The Highs

Ritesh Mishra They say . System corrupts u . But after interacting with School principals of the Partner schools . they myth shattered. People always want to change .Change for good .Its just that they are not able to find the right path and the right partner in path to change !!

September 15 at 11:57pm ·   · Like

Ritesh Mishra 

One Black and 5 Greens ! thats what Bhaiya has got for not using a only one Hindi word in the entire day .. of course an astounding "


Excellent Bhaiya -Excellent " from MACHO Arbaaaz


..a blinking lill Aditya -saying Wow ! and the background Claps .................. Reallly It gets too emotional sometimes ;)


   Well  That was September 2009 .... Some Pictures from The class are Posted in Next blog  just for you .....

Thanks for reading ..Do wait for October 2009 ..I am sure its going to be too exciting too.....